HOPKINTON (CBS) – More than 30,000 runners have had this day marked on their calendar for a long time. It’s finally here – the 120th Boston Marathon.
Related: Boston Marathon Guide
The weather forecast looks good for spectators, but it’s likely a bit too warm for runners during the annual 26.2 mile Patriots’ Day race from Hopkinton to Boston.
Related: Mile-by-Mile Course Guide
It will begin with the mobility impaired competitors starting at 8:50 a.m. They’ll be followed by the men’s and women’s wheelchairs and hand cycles before the elite women leave at 9:32 a.m.
The elite men will begin at 10 a.m., which also marks the start of the four waves of runners. Each of those waves has about 7,500 men and women.
50 YEARS OF WOMEN
This year’s race will also mark 50 years of women running the Boston Marathon.
She ran as a bandit (an unregistered participant) because, at that time, women were not allowed to officially register for Boston. She finished in 3 hours, 21 minutes and 40 seconds, beating several men.
It wasn’t until last week, when the Boston Athletic Association created a “Pioneer Era” that Gibb’s first finish was officially recognized and became part of the marathon’s official record.
Familiar American elites such as 2013 champion Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall, Marblehead’s Shalane Flanagan, Desi Linden and Kara Goucher are not running Boston this year. Many ran in the Olympic trials in February and some are now training for the games in August. Hall retired earlier this year.
However, both defending champions are returning.
On the men’s side, Boston champs Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia), Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) and Wesley Korir (Kenya) will all be back. Desisa will be defending his title from last year, looking to claim his third Boston Marathon overall. Mutai’s best finish came in 2011, when he set the course record in 2:03:02. Korir won in 2012.
Challenging that group of champions for this year’s olive wreath are Yemane Adhane Tsegay (Ethiopia), Wilson Chebet (Kenya), and Michael Kipyego (Kenya). Tsegay and Chebet finished second and third, respectively, in Boston in 2015.
Sammy Kitwara (Kenya), last year’s runner-up in Chicago and a former Rotterdam winner, is among the sub-2:05 men making their Boston debut this year. He’ll be joined by Tsegaye Mekonnen (Ethiopia), who ran to a 2:04:32 debut to earn a 2014 victory in Dubai.
The U.S. elite men include Ian Burrell, who finished as the first American at the World Championships Marathon last summer, and Girma Mecheso, who won the 2014 U.S. 20K Championships. Mecheso will be making his marathon debut.
San Diego and San Jose Half Marathon champion Jordan Chipangama from Zambia is also in the field. He lives and trains in the United States.
Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia), the 2012 Olympic Marathon gold medalist, leads the field on the women’s side as she makes her Boston debut. Gelana, also a past champion of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, is seeking a place on the 2016 Ethiopian Olympic team with a strong Boston performance. Her personal best time came in Rotterdam in 2012, when she ran a 2:18:58 marathon.
Buzunesh Deba (Ethiopia), Tirfe Tsegaye (Ethiopia), Mamitu Daska (Ethiopia) and Atsede Bayisa (Ethiopia) are also eyeing a podium finish in Boston. Deba finished second in Boston in 2014 and third last year, and is the champion of eight marathons held in the United States. Tsegaye has won marathons in Berlin, Tokyo, Paris and Dubai, with a personal best of 2:20:18 in Berlin in 2014, while Daska has had success on the roads of Boston, claiming both the B.A.A. 10K and B.A.A. Half Marathon.
2015 champion Caroline Rotich (Kenya), who has run Boston three times, will be back to defend her title.
She’ll be joined by three-time Olympian Jelena Prokopcuka (Latvia), who is a two-time New York City winner and two-time Boston runner up, and Olympian Joyce Chepkirui (Kenya), who won both Amsterdam and Honolulu last year and finished tenth in Boston.
American Neely Spence Gracey will make her highly anticipated marathon debut in Boston.
Push-Rim Wheelchair Division
Nine Boston Marathon champions, including defending champs Marcel Hug of Switzerland and Tatyana McFadden of the United States, will compete in the push-rim wheelchair division.
WHO TO WATCH
There will also be a few familiar faces in the crowd of runners Monday.
Two survivors of the 2013 bombings on Boylston Street will run the marathon for the first time.
Adrianne Haslet and Patrick Downes each lost a leg in the terror attacks. Both will tackle the 26.2 mile course wearing a prosthetic leg. Haslet is running for Limbs for Life. Downs is raising money for the Boston College Strong scholarship.
Supermodel Christy Turlington will run Boston for the first time for her organization “Every Mother Counts” to raise awareness for maternal health around the world.
And one-time ESPY winner and viral basketball star Jason McElwain, known to many as J-Mac, will be running his third Boston Marathon.
Thousands of men and women will run for local charities.
Official charities raised more than $15.63 million in last year’s race.
Several roads in the eight towns along the course have been shut down for the marathon.
You can read more about that and MBTA changes for the day here.